Accounts of China and India

124 pages

April, 2017

ISBN: 9781479830596

$15.00

Paper

Authors

Abu Zayd al-Sirafi was a seafarer who moved from the Persian port-city of Siraf to Basra in 303 H/915-916 AD. He wrote the second half of Accounts of China and India, supplementing an earlier section written by an unknown mariner and merchant fifty years earlier.
Tim Mackintosh-Smith is a noted British travel author, best known for his trilogy on the renowned Moroccan world-traveler Ibn Battutah, which earned him a spot among Newsweek’s top twelve travel writers of the past hundred years. Since 1982, he has lived in Sanaa, Yemen.
The ninth and tenth centuries witnessed the establishment of a substantial network of maritime trade across the Indian Ocean, providing the real-life background to the Sinbad tales. 
 
“These accounts are full of fascination and wonder… [and] continue the contribution this excellent series is making towards integrating classics of Arabic into the global canon.”
Times Literary Supplement

An exceptional exemplar of Arabic travel writing, Accounts of China and India is a compilation of reports and anecdotes about the lands and peoples of this diverse territory, from the Somali headlands of Africa to the far eastern shores of China and Korea.  

Traveling eastward, we discover a vivid human landscape—from Chinese society to Hindu religious practices—as well as a colorful range of natural wilderness—from flying fish to Tibetan musk-deer and Sri Lankan gems. The juxtaposed accounts create a kaleidoscope of a world not unlike our own, a world on the road to globalization. In its ports, we find a priceless cargo of information. Here are the first foreign descriptions of tea and porcelain, a panorama of unusual social practices, cannibal islands, and Indian holy men—a marvelous, mundane world, contained in the compass of a novella.